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Chess
Basic rules for Western chess (CX) are explained. You can also learn how draw situations are handled on ItsYourTurn.com.


  • read: How do I start a game of chess on ItsYourTurn.com?
  • read: How do I invite another user of ItsYourTurn.com to play a game of chess?
  • read: Pawn en Passant
  • read: Draw: Stalemate
  • read: Draw: Insufficient Pieces for Checkmate
  • read: Draw: Position of Pieces Occurs 3 Times
  • read: Draw: 50 Moves without Capture or Pawn Move
  • read: How do I offer a draw?
  • read: Castling
  • read: How do I move my chess pieces on ItsYourTurn.com?
  • read: Object of Chess; Checkmate, Check, and Stalemate
  • read: How is the chess board set up?
  • read: King Movement
  • read: Queen Movement
  • read: Bishop Movement
  • read: Knight Movement
  • read: Rook Movement
  • read: Pawn Movement
  • read: Capturing with the Pawn
  • read: Pawn Promotion
  • read: How do I view a list, or notation, of past moves in a game?
  • read: How do I castle in chess?
  • read: How do I find good chess players on ItsYourTurn.com?
  • read: The etiquette of resigning
  • read: What is the difference between Competitive Chess, Intermediate Chess, and Casual Chess in tournaments?
  • read: How can I get better at chess?



How do I start a game of chess on ItsYourTurn.com? Detailed instructions on starting a game can be found in a special short tutorial with cartoons. Here is a brief explanation.

Look in the menu column on the left side of the screen. Near the top under 'Play' you will see 'Start Game.' Click 'Start Game' and you will see a page where you choose what game you want to play. If you choose chess, a game board will appear. You will be White, and you will have the option of making your first move at that time. To move, clicking on a piece; then click on a place to move it to; then click 'Submit' beneath the game board.

The game will be placed in the Waiting Room where it waits for an opponent. If an opponent picks up the game, the game will reappear on your game status page in the list where it's your turn to move.
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How do I invite another user of ItsYourTurn.com to play a game of chess? Detailed instructions on how to invite a user to play can be found in our special short tutorial with cartoons. Briefly, here's what you do:

  1. Under 'Play' in the left-side menu column, click 'Invite user to play.'
  2. On the next page, choose the game you would like to play, then scroll down and click 'Choose game.'
  3. Type the user's name and click 'Search for user.'
  4. If more than one user's name matches what you typed, you will select a user from a list of names and click 'Select this user.'
  5. Type an optional message and click 'Send message'.

The invited user has the option of accepting or declining your invitation. You will receive a message telling you his answer. If he declines, you may invite someone else. There are lots of people here who want to play games.
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Pawn en Passant En passant is French for 'in passing.' It is a special capturing move which a Pawn can make. The following example explains:

A Black Pawn is in its starting position and may move one or two squares forward. Now, suppose a White Pawn is on its 5th rank so that if the Black Pawn were to move one square forward, the White Pawn could capture it.



The Black Pawn instead moves two squares forward.



The White Pawn can still capture it under the rule of en passant. The White Pawn moves to the square that the Black Pawn would have occupied if it had moved one square forward, and the Black Pawn comes off the board.



The White Pawn must make the en passant capture as soon as the Black Pawn moves into the position where it is vulnerable to it. This means that the White Pawn must first be in position to make the capture; then the Black Pawn makes its move; then the White Pawn must make the capture on its next move.

If the White Pawn does not capture the Black Pawn at this first opportunity, then the Black Pawn is immune to en passant captures for the rest of the game. However, en passant captures may occur for other Pawns.
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Draw: Stalemate A stalemate occurs when one player has no available moves.

A player may not make a move that puts himself or herself in check. Often, this rule is what causes games to end in a stalemate.
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Draw: Insufficient Pieces for Checkmate When both players have so few pieces that neither is capable of putting the other in checkmate, the game should be declared a draw. The following combinations of pieces on the board are draw situations:

  • King against King
  • King against King and Bishop
  • King against King and Knight
  • King and Bishop against King and Bishop, where both Bishops are on the same color.

If you are in a game that has reached one of these situations, click 'Offer Draw' in the options beneath the game board. If your opponent refuses to accept a draw,
contact us using our online contact form. State your and your opponent's exact userids, the color each of you are playing, and which tournament and round you are in, if applicable. If the game is in a draw situation, we will manually declare a draw.
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Draw: Position of Pieces Occurs 3 Times If the same exact positioning of pieces on the ENTIRE board occurs three times in a game, the game is automatically a draw. This is an official rule of chess-- even if one player has a huge advantage, if the same position occurs 3 times, the game is a draw.

If this happens on ItsYourTurn, click 'Offer Draw' among the options beneath the game board. Even if your opponent refuses a draw in this situation, eventually the computer will automatically declare this game a draw.

However, if you'd like to have it declared a draw sooner, please pull up the game on your screen and click on the 'Email Websupport about this game' at the bottom of the page. If a 3-move repetition has occurred, then we will declare the game a draw.
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Draw: 50 Moves without Capture or Pawn Move If each player makes 50 consecutive moves without a capture and without moving a Pawn, then the game should be declared a draw.

If you are in a game that has reached this point, click 'Offer Draw' in the options beneath the game board. If your opponent refuses to accept a draw,
contact us using our online contact form. State your and your opponent's exact userids, the color each of you are playing, the move numbers of the first and last moves of the consecutive 50 moves in question, and which tournament and round you are in, and applicable. If the game is in a draw situation, we will manually declare a draw.
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How do I offer a draw? Click Offer Draw at the bottom of the page displaying your game board. Your opponent will be sent a message asking whether she would like to accept or decline a draw. It does not have to be your turn to offer a draw.

Offering a draw does not count as making a move in the game. If you offer a draw in a tournament game, you might want to make an actual move in the game as well, to be sure you do not time out. If your opponent makes a move without responding to the draw offer, the draw offer will be erased from her message inbox.
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Castling Castling is a special move you can make with your King and one of your Rooks.



The King moves two spaces toward the Rook, and the Rook jumps to one space just inside the King's new position, as in either of the these two examples:






Certain conditions must be met to castle:

  • It must be the first move for the King and the Rook. If either has been moved in the game, you may not castle with them.
  • There must be no pieces between the King and the Rook.
  • You can not castle to get out of check.
  • You can not castle through check. This means that you can not castle if doing so would cause your King to pass over a square on which it would be in check.

Here is how to castle, when castling is possible:

  1. While viewing the game board, click the King.
  2. A new page will load showing the King outlined in red. Now, click the space to which the King will move for the castle.
  3. A new page will appear showing the King and the Rook in their new positions. Look beneath the game board and click 'Submit' to finish the move.

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How do I move my chess pieces on ItsYourTurn.com? Access a game board by clicking on an opponent's name on your Game Status page, or by clicking the link on an email reminder.

  1. While viewing a chess game board, click on the piece you want to move. A new page will load showing a highlight around the piece you clicked.
  2. Click on a square to which you want to move this piece. Another page will load showing the piece moved.
  3. Then, you must click one of the 'Submit' buttons that are displayed beneath the game board. If you do not click 'Submit,' the move will not be recorded.

You can not make a move that would put you in check. This means that you can not make a move that would allow your King to be captured on your opponent's next turn.

ItsYourTurn.com only allows you to make legal moves. If our system is preventing you from making a certain move, then check the rules again. You might be trying to do something that is not allowed.
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Object of Chess; Checkmate, Check, and Stalemate Win by positioning your pieces so that on your next move, you would be certain to capture your opponent's King. This is called checkmate. The game ends in a draw or stalemate when one player has no available moves.

If you position your pieces so that you could capture your opponent's King on your next turn, but your opponent can prevent this capture on his or her next move, then you have put your opponent in check.

If you are in check, then you must make a move that prevents the capture of your King on the next turn.

You may not make a move that puts you into check. Our system will not let you make such a move.
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How is the chess board set up?


Chess is played on an 8X8 square board. The horizontal rows of squares are called ranks and the vertical rows are called files.

On a player's first rank, the row closest to him, pieces are arranged with the two Rooks on the ends; the Knights just inside the Rooks; the Bishops just inside the Knights; and the King and Queen on the center two squares with the Queen on her own color.

The eight Pawns fill the second rank.
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King Movement


This King can move to the squares with yellow dots.


The King can move one square in any direction, horizontally, vertically, and diagonally.

The King is the most important piece. If your opponent is certain to capture your King on her next move, then you have lost the game. This situation is called 'checkmate.' If your opponent has positioned her pieces to capture your King on the next move, but you can make a move that prevents his capture, you are in 'check.' When in check, you must make a move that prevents your King's capture. Also, the King can not move into check.
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Queen Movement


This Queen can move to the squares with yellow dots.


The Queen can move any distance in any direction -- horizontally, vertically, or diagonally -- along an unobstructed path. She is the most powerful piece on the board.
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Bishop Movement


This Bishop can move to the squares with yellow dots.


The Bishop can move any distance along a diagonal, unobstructed path. Note that each of your Bishops starts on a differently colored square, and each will remain on his color for the entire game.
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Knight Movement


This Knight can move to the squares with yellow dots.


The Knight's move is shaped like an 'L.' He moves two squares horizontally or vertically; then, he moves one square to either side.

The Knight can jump over other pieces, but he must land on a square that is empty or occupied by an enemy piece.
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Rook Movement


This Rook can move to the squares with yellow dots.


The Rook can move any distance along an unobstructed horizontal or vertical path, but not diagonally.
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Pawn Movement When moving and not capturing another piece, the Pawn can only move forward vertically.

A Pawn in its starting position, such as the one circled in yellow below, can move either two squares or one square.

Once a Pawn has left its starting position, as the one circled in red has, it can only move one square.




When capturing, the pawn's move is different. See the next question.
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Capturing with the Pawn The Pawn can capture pieces that lie on the adjacent squares diagonally forward. This is the only time the Pawn moves diagonally. If a piece lies directly in front of a Pawn, the Pawn can not capture it.

In the picture, the Black Pawn circled in yellow can capture the White Knight, but the other pawn can not capture.


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Pawn Promotion If a Pawn moves all the way to its opponent's side of the board, it becomes a different piece of its player's choice. Usually, it becomes a Queen, but it can be any piece. It piece does NOT have to a be a piece that your opponent has taken, so it's possible to have 2 or 3 queens on the board at the same time.
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How do I view a list, or notation, of past moves in a game? Open a game board and look just beneath it. You will see links that say 'Prev - Next - First - Last.' Next to these four links is a link that says show move list. If you click this, the links mentioned above will disappear, and a move list will appear on the right side of the game board.

In chess games, this move list has the notation of moves. For most of our other games, it will simply list the move numbers and colors of each player. This is useful though, because it allows you to jump to any previous move in the game.

Portable Game Notation: For chess only, a PGN is available. To find it, view a game board and scroll down. Near the bottom of the page, under 'Options,' you will find the link for the PGN. Also, for chess only, there is a link to view the time stamp on each move of the game.

For information on how to find games that are completed or games that are in progress, see our help section on
viewing games.
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How do I castle in chess? After you open the game board, click your king. When the next page loads, click the space to which the king will move in a castle. Another page will load, and you will see both the king and the rook in their new positions.

For more information on castling, see
this question.
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How do I find good chess players on ItsYourTurn.com? Here are some ways that you might find good players.

  • Look in tournaments in progress that are in advanced rounds and see who is in them. To do this, look under 'Spy' in the left-side menu column and click 'Tournament area.' On the tournament page, click 'Tournaments in Progress.' You will see a list of tournaments. Click some of the older ones from about six months ago. Then look for the gametype that you want to play and click round 2 or 3 or later. You will see the names of the players in the sections. You can copy names to your clipboard or just write them down, then use our 'Invite user to play' feature to invite them to some games.

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The etiquette of resigning In chess (and perhaps other games), if it's unlikely that a player will win the game, then the general etiquette is to resign (forfeit) that game. Most chess players do not consider it rude for a player to resign if the position is hopeless.

On ItsYourTurn.com, our resign feature also allows you to write a short optional message to your opponent that will be sent with the resign notice.

In live chess tournaments this is the norm. Very few games go all the way to the end unless the difference in material is very small. However, while this is the etiquette, you are not obligated to resign, and on the other hand you should not berate your opponent into resigning. Each player has a right to play the game for as long as they like. We only mention the etiquette so that those new to chess know that it is not rude to resign.
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What is the difference between Competitive Chess, Intermediate Chess, and Casual Chess in tournaments? All three of these tournament chess categories are standard Western chess. They are not game variations.

The reason for having these three categories for chess is to divide the chess tournaments. Chess tournaments were becoming very large and taking a long time to finish. Now we have three different chess categories, and you can only sign up for one.

Note that check boxes for chess variations are farther down the page.

If you accidentally click the button next to one of these chess categories and you don't want to play any of them, then choose 'No Chess' and scroll down and click 'Submit.'
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How can I get better at chess? Playing regularly will improve your chess game. You may also want to buy a chess book and study it. Browse our selection of popular chess books, available from Amazon.com.
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